Why do Recruiters Lie?

I know and have known lots of recruiters and I believe that very few recruiters lie. In most cases, they don’t purposely tell you something they know is not valid. But I do think that there is often miscommunication. An example is the time I told my wife that “I was working out of the office today”. She then allowed her daughter to have her car because she heard me say that I was working in my office and, she assumed that I would drive her to her office which is in the same building as mine. What I meant when speaking to my wife is that I was working, but at a customer’s facility.

I could see how she interpreted my response when I examined the words that I had used to answer her question. Of course, this led to some changes in our plans.

Can you see how my words were not clear? This is an example of poor communication. I do believe that this is what sometimes happens between truck driver applicants and recruiters. Maybe a question is not straightforward, or perhaps the person hearing it interpreted a question differently than it was meant to be.

So how do we overcome these communication problems? Since communication is a two-way process and miscommunication happens frequently in our world, we need to devise a plan to get the answers we need to make the best decisions.

One method I found to work for me is asking the same question again but using different words. Another way is to restate the answer in your comments. For example, you ask the recruiter, “Will I be home every night?” The answer you get is “Yes, you will sleep in your bed!”

Did the recruiter lie, or did they hear your question as “Am I sleeping in my truck?” We all hear the words and then put our “spin” or filter on what we hear. We are always trying to interpret what we hear.

With the example of, “Will I be home every night?” The recruiter assumed you were concerned about seeing your family regularly. But you could be concerned with your circadian rhythm patterns and wanting to sleep at night and in a bed.

It is also important to remember that many truck drivers may not have English as their first language. And many recruiters may also be the same. And if the two “first languages” are different and the two people are trying to speak English so that they can communicate? Well, this is a recipe for miscommunication.

So, the communication process depends on the people who are trying to communicate. The questions need to be well thought out and stated clearly. And the responses need to be well thought out and noted clearly too. Unfortunately, this seldom happens. And that’s not to say that it seldom happens between trucking company staff (dispatchers), drivers and recruiters. I am saying it seldom happens in my world.

We all take communication way too lightly. Most of us think that we are excellent communicators and that we are very clear when we ask a question. I have realized that this is often not true.

When looking for a new position, you should pre-write down your questions. You can ask others to read your question and give you feedback. When you ask your question and get your answer, restate the answer. Using the example above regarding being home nightly, if I get the response, “Yes, you will sleep in your bed.” I could repeat the answer, “Great; I look forward to going to bed at 11 PM every night and waking at 5:30 for work”. If the recruiter agrees with your statement or doesn’t correct you, then you can assume that you and the recruiter heard each other correctly and communicated clearly.

I truly believe that very few recruiters lie outright to drivers. I think that poor communication happens frequently, and we then feel like someone has lied to us. Try my two tips for restating the question and saying the answer differently to see if this helps.

Let me know what you think.

Be Safe.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.